The home health care market has become more complex as providers must not only find and care for patients, but also find and persuade clinicians to work for them.
To that end, staffing companies like connectRN are helping home health service providers meet these new challenges.
“Home healthcare agencies must adapt to a world where the physicians they have traditionally relied on, have the experience and feel comfortable going to their patients, now have more options,” said Ted Jeanloz, connectRN CEO. versus Home Health Care News. “What we’re seeing is that the market for home health care services has actually become two-sided.”
To date, connectRN, based in Waltham, Massachusetts, has raised over $95 million in funding. According to Jeanloz, the company just completed its fifth straight year of 150% growth.
Home healthcare providers have played a large role in this success.
“Before, they had to find, sell, and care for patients,” Jeanloz continued. “Now they need to take a similar approach for clinicians as well. They really need to convince clinicians why working with them is the best path for their careers.”
What started as a platform to find nurses and other healthcare professionals, particularly in Qualified Nursing Facilities (SNFs), has now grown into a much larger platform with a vested interest in home care.
About a year ago, Amedisys Inc. (Nasdaq: AMED) participated in connectRN’s $76 million funding round. So far, the partnership has been a learning experience for both sides.
“We’ve done a great job working with them to re-engineer our home health platform and it’s been exciting to expand into their care centers, grow with them and help them solve what is probably the biggest problem in the world right now to help healthcare. ‘ Jeanloz said. “It was certainly a bilateral learning experience. I’m sure we learned a lot more from them than they learned from us, but we helped them quickly and I think we helped them be ready to try new things.”
connectRN’s platform mission is to improve customers’ lives by giving them more access, opportunities and support.
As one of the giants in the home health space, Amedisys knows it must rely on partnerships to thrive in the future.
“There’s been some good innovation around us in the idea of staffing,” Paul Kusserow, chairman and CEO of Amedisys, said at this week’s BoA Home Care Conference. “It’s clearly something we’re going to take some innovative and serious steps towards. Making the investments made, looking at other partnerships and learning from our friends out there, [it’s clear] we need to broaden our thinking.”
Stakeholders are in a labor market where nothing can be taken for granted, Jeanloz said.
Ambulatory health services have historically operated with a surplus of manpower. The requirements for employment and the specific requirements to be met are correspondingly high.
The connectRN team understands that these requirements cannot and should not change. But the way to meet these requirements can be streamlined.
“We understand the requirements; the ones you can’t change,” Jeanloz said. “We have to maintain very high standards. But is there another way to get there that will help us do this faster? That makes it less stressful for the caregiver who is really looking for flexibility, looking for opportunities but maybe not as committed as they used to be? We have to see this as the new status quo and build on it.”
Looking ahead, Jeanloz is hoping for a worst-case scenario as the economy moves toward a recession. He hopes that the labor market will not be as badly affected as in 2008 and 2009.
However, he’s not so sure that this kind of economic outlook will affect connectRN the way other companies do.
“I don’t know how that will affect us,” he said. “Because I think that our business, the flexibility that we are offering to doctors in the model that we are delivering, could actually be counter-cyclical. In fact, we can do better than not in a recession. I think our big challenge remains: How do we find a way to help providers, healthcare facilities and home health services build economically strong businesses?”